After 118 days of waiting for publication, EPA finally published its coal ash rule in the Federal Register. At $23 billion in total costs and plenty of legal battles to fight, perhaps EPA had its reasons for delaying publication.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) own estimates, its proposed power plant regulation could eliminate one-fifth of existing coal generation facilities and 80,000 energy jobs. The regulation, set for final publication this summer, would regulate emissions at existing coal and natural gas power plants, while also ensuring that consumer use less energy from coal facilities. Based on American Action Forum (AAF) research, this means that more than 90 coal-fired power plants could be retired across the country. Secondary employment impacts suggest that EPA’s power plant regulation could eliminate 296,000 jobs, about the population of Cincinnati, Ohio and more than the total number of jobs the economy created in February 2015.
The Department of Labor (DOL) took a mulligan on its first proposal to regulate financial advisers and recently re-proposed its second version of the so-called “fiduciary rule.” The measure would prohibit financial brokers and other advisers from taking compensation from mutual funds and then giving advice to investors unless they adhere to certain strict mandates.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) recently released a proposed rule that seeks to update requirements for well-control equipment known as blowout preventers (BOP). DOI based its standards off of findings made in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill.
As Tax Day approaches, approximately 150 million Americans will have to undergo the thankless task of complying with the nation’s broken tax code. The data on the cost and the time it takes the average taxpayer to comply with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms are truly staggering. To put IRS’s 7.3 billion hours in perspective, it would take 3.67 million Americans (more than the population of Chicago) working 2,000 hours annually to complete these requirements.
Web-content provider Matthew Yglesias recently decided to take a stroll down memory lane to the Bush years, and surprise surprise, is none too pleased. Yglesias dusts off the tired trope that the Bush Administration is essentially to blame for the continued sorrowful economy through, “Tax cuts, deregulation, and bailouts, too.” He further asserts that the Bush Administration was a “historically great administration for Wall Street.” This charge has been repeated in some form or another by the current administration and their surrogates emphatically and often. Unfortunately, nobody has been willing to hold them accountable on the substance of this claim.
This week regulators added $95 million in total costs, $72 million in annualized burdens, and actually cut more than 100,000 paperwork burden hours. It was a slow week, with only six regulations that monetized costs or hours, but a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposal on “Food Facilities” and an EPA rulemaking on regional haze for Arkansas led the pack.
Regulators added more than $1.8 billion in total burdens this week. Annualized costs were $772 million, compared to $218 million in benefits, and more than 30,000 new paperwork burden hours. A dual pair of energy efficiency standards and health care proposals led the week.
According to the administration’s records, including the Unified Agenda of federal regulation, there are eight instances when the White House stated a rule would not trigger UMRA when the regulatory burdens easily exceeded the statutory threshold. In other words, the White House routinely omitted crucial data on unfunded state and private sector mandates.
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal ran a compelling story about the Bank of Bird-in-Hand, an Amish country bank, the first new bank since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act five years ago. One new bank (although regulators are nearing approval of a second). Stunning. The U.S. used to average 100 new banks every year.